As the raging inferno of Sebastian’s shadow trapping bonfires died down, a sigh of relief and a deep breath (of about five minutes) was shared by all. Our bulk-priced glowsticks were still doing the trick but to a somewhat lesser effect than claimed on the packaging. It is debatable whether sending Erevis back to confer with the sellers is a good idea. Needless to say, their radii of illumination was somehow curtailed leaving us in ever diminishing light. Perhaps it had something to do with the location or the shadows…
Our ragged little prisoner, freed from the encumbrance of shadows, slept serenely on a quality dragonborn mattress of solid stone. It was determined that his alertness would be hard won and produce limited results at that time. We would allow him his rest. Sebastian taught Erevis an ancient Elvish method of setting an alarm on the prisoner. A bowl of copper pennies was tied to the man’s ankle, sure to ring louder than a Salvation Army Santa should the poor bastard move.
As we moved back into the chamber and toward the familiar double doors, Horatio collected a handful of our glowsticks for future use. That future was to come in mere moments later. Forming into a tight diamond before the door, Horatio to the fore, Dex to the rear and Sebastian and Erevis covering the flanks, they girded for the worst.
Our fearless dragonborn warrior opted for a more “direct” approach than the one previously attempted when entering the wizard’s chamber. Throwing the doors open he launched the glowsticks forth into the darkness. Dex, deciding a longer diamond formation would perhaps behoove his chances of surviving an alliance with the brave warrior, took a few steps back. Well, more than a few.
Once again we were gifted with the architectural consistency of Horatio’s dragonborn forebrethren. Indeed, it was the same T-shaped room that graced the base of each of our former towers. This time however, it boasted a few modifications. Beyond the familiar stout pillars with their statuesque dragonlings, the center of the cross-section was home to a nice, large portal. Not as hastily drawn as in previous towers, yet not quite to the level of permanence found in the ziggurat. Still, this one had been there a long time. It was somehow metaphysically supported by a trio smaller shadow portals triangulated around it. After some thoughtful arcanic deliberation it was decided that the first step in dismantling the large portal would be to neutralize the smaller ones.
We chose the right one first, under the pretense that it only had one dragonling statue nearby as the left one had two. The point became irrelevant considering that they move like lightning once awakened. Once again, we found that out the hard way. Additionally, said portal belched forth two shadow beings, one like the previously encountered helmet heads, the other a shadowy winged form.
The battle was fought well enough, with even Dex receiving a few solid hits. He did though manage a few nice daisy chains of Chaos Bolts (one even a four-fer!). Sebastian nearly laid down his life foe the party, but luckily only succumbed to bloody unconsciousness. For the rest, please feel free to add in your own personal exploits as the mead flowed freely…
Once unburdened by the confines of combat, we attempted to shut down the small portal at hand. Although difficult to decipher at first, it soon became apparent that it’s origins were not created on this side but in the opposite shadow realm. A somewhat simple method was discovered to shut it down, although it seemed beyond Dex’s abilities (as would tying his own shoe, with that natural 1). Sebastian stepped to the fore and flicked the proverbial switch. This action did indeed shut down the portal but not without consequences. As a result, two large balls of energy began creeping ever so slowly from the larger portal to the remaining two. We had a bad feeling about this…
We rushed over to the second portal, triggering another pair of shadow beings. While thus engaged, Sebastian managed to shut the portal down. This in and of itself, was good. The subsequent explosion of the ball of energy creeping toward it was not. All within the blast were damaged and thrown. Luckily, this did not exclude our foes who were equally as thrashed.
Still, as the combat proceeded, the last ball of energy was making it’s inevitable way to the last portal. Sebastian valiantly rushed ahead alone to shut it down. And shut it down he did, but not before two more shadow beings formed on the scene. The resulting explosion took it’s toll and everyone dug in.
Although bloodied, the tide was turning in favor of the party. It was then that someone noticed that Horatio’s half dozen glow rods scattered across the floor by the entry had been slowly winking out. The cause: a snake-like shadow being, making it’s way towards the center portal. We deemed this a threat larger than the shadow beings still swarming about us and turned to face it.
Dex lined up in front of it’s path and slowed it with an arctic blast of Ice Dragon’s Teeth. Horatio sent a glow stick flying at it’s feet. This gave it cause to emit a horrific scream. In answer, one of the shadow warriors rushed over and shielded it from the light. In a move of a parasitic rage, the shadow snake thrust itself INTO it’s protector, creating a towering behemoth of shadow. Horatio, Erevis and Sebastian threw themselves at it, ignoring for the moment, the last shadow nipping at their heels. With Dex launching everything he had left and the rest pounding away toe-to-toe, the beast finally succumbed with a last deafening scream. Sadly, Horatio had become a casualty, lying in a pool of his own blood at the monster’s feet.
The last shadow, faced with the death of it’s ally, flung itself through the large portal and disappeared into the dark ether.
The party, it’s dragonborn warrior revived, heaved a sigh of relief and looked ominously at the remaining portal before searching the room for items to assist them in their further assault.
Just another day in the life of The Dragon’s Claw…